Some 3,500 Sun Pharma employees have been given a company-funded seven-day vacation in Istanbul. The boss of the second-largest pharmaceutical company in India, an Indian billionaire who is one of the world's wealthiest businesspeople according to Forbes magazine, decided to give his workers an unusual gift.
The first batch of 150 employees landed in Istanbul after flying with national flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) from India's capital New Delhi. Following passport control at Atatürk International Airport, the excited employees took photographs and videos in the terminal and shared them on social media.
Kumar Nikhil, a company employee, told reporters at the airport that they will visit many historical, cultural and social places and that he wanted to explore the beauty of the historical city. Nikhil said he already knew what kind of a city Istanbul was and he was more than happy to come to Turkey.
He also noted that their company provides them with the opportunity to visit a different country every year. "I feel lucky to be working for this company. We would like to thank the owner of our company who sent us here," he said.
The Indian billionaire, with a fortune close to $12 billion, allocated $10 million for the week-long vacation of his employees. He also divided $1 million for his employees to spend during their vacation. Likewise, 350 high-level executives of the company operating all over the world will also fly to Istanbul from 20 different countries. They will visit historical sites, such as Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia.
Meanwhile, as part of their program, the group will take a private tour of the Bosporus, which is known for its unique beauty. Indian guests will also enjoy Turkish dishes in specially organized nights out.
Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB) Chairman Firuz Bağlıkaya previously said the fact that an Indian billionaire is bringing 3,500 of his employees to Istanbul this month for vacation is great for the tourism sector. Bağlıkaya added that it will generate a significant source of income for the country.
Pointing to the nearly 100 percent increase in the number of Indian tourists in the first five months of 2018, the TÜRSAB chairman had said the Indian market is very important for wedding events in particular. "These organizations generate a significant source of income for Turkish hotels, especially in Antalya and Istanbul. Hopefully, this organization, which started in Istanbul, will pave the way for others throughout the country," he said.
Meanwhile, Azhar Bhat, another employee from India's Kashmir region, said he was happy to be in Turkey. Bhat stressed that Turkey is a very important country and that he closely follows the political developments in the country.
"When we think of Islamic countries, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan takes a place among the great leaders. I salute him from here," Bhat said. "Long live Turkey, long live Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. I call on all Turkish citizens to support him."
Ramanjeet Singh, a name that is intrinsic to India, also said he was grateful to have the change to visit Turkey from Punjab. Singh said he had already heard from others that Istanbul was one the most beautiful cities in the world and that he was excited to join the tour. Thanking the owners of their company for providing them with this kind of an opportunity, Singh said, "I hope I will have a very nice stay in Istanbul."
After exiting the airport, the group got on their waiting bus and departed. It was reported that they will be staying at numerous hotels, including Istanbul's most luxurious, until July 18 and will attend a number of events.